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Boston Bomber ‘Genuinely Sorry for What He Did’
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Sister Helen Prejean, an advocate against the death penalty, testified on behalf of the Boston Bomber at the end of the trial.

Summary: Sister Helen Prejean, an advocate against the death penalty, testified on behalf of the Boston Bomber at the end of the trial.

According to USA Today, Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun and anti-death penalty activist whose story was made famous by the film “Dead Man Walking,” took the witness stand during the Boston Marathon bombing trial on Monday.


Regarding Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old accused of setting off bombs near the finish line of the race, Prejean said that he is “genuinely sorry for what he did” and told her how he felt about those who have suffered because of the bombings.

“He said it emphatically. He said no one deserves to suffer like they did. I had every reason to think he was taking it in and he was genuinely sorry for what he did.”

Prejean met with Tsarnaev on five separate occasions, starting in early March. She noted that he “kind of lowered his eyes” when speaking about the victims. She recalled that Tsarnaev’s “face registered” what he was saying, and that his remorseful behavior seemed “absolutely sincere.”

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Prejean said that the pair talked about both of their faiths: Catholicism and Islam. Prejean said, “I talked about how in the Catholic Church we have become more and more opposed to the death penalty,” although this statement was quickly objected to by the prosecution.

The sentencing phase began last month.

Miriam Conrad, the defense attorney questioning Prejean, asked what she heard in Tsarnaev’s voice when he talked about the victims and how they have suffered. Prejean responded, “It had pain in it.”



Prejean has been a nun since 1957. She began meeting with Tsarnaev at the suggestion of his defense attorneys. Prejean recalled when she first met him: “I walked in the room, I looked at his face and said, ‘Oh my God, he’s so young!’” the defense has repeatedly emphasized Tsarnaev’s young age and his impressionability.

The judge in the case has a tough, but fair, reputation.

However, not everyone was convinced by what Prejean was saying. Several of the bombing victims shook their heads and looked around in disbelief when Prejean said that Tsarnaev appeared remorseful.

After Prejean stepped down, the defense rested its case. According to CNN, the defense had spent eight days presenting its case.

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The prosecution and the defense had been entangled in negotiations as to whether Prejean would be allowed to testify before the jury. She is regarded as an expert witness on remorse, which can be considered as a mitigating factor by a jury when making a death penalty ruling.

Rolling Stone caused an uproar when it featured Tsarnaev on its cover.

The defense has argued that Tsarnaev should receive life in prison without parole, instead of being put to death. On April 8, Tsarnaev was convicted of all thirty counts related to the marathon attacks, which ultimately injured over 260 people and killed 3.

During a break, victim Karen Brassard, who needed surgery for shrapnel injuries after the bombs went off, said of Tsarnaev’s alleged remorse, ”Too little too late. I don’t believe he’s remorseful that people were injured. He hasn’t shown one iota of respect for any of us. He has shown nothing but disdain for this whole process.” The New York Times adds that Tsarnaev rarely looked up when witnesses or victims were testifying, and that he neglected to take the stand in his defense.

Source: USA Today

Photo credit: New York Times, (Conrad)




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